Notes and Editorial Reviews
The first listen to bass Vanni Marcoux (1879-1962) is quite a shock, even a disappointment: his timbre is so light, his vibrato so prominent, that he might be a tenor. But after you realize that he's in the right octave, this half-French, half-Italian singer ("Vanni" is short for "Giovanni") catches your attention with his musicianship and vocal acting abilities, and he enchants.
Seemingly incapable of vulgarity, Marcoux's Don Quichotte Death Scene sounds like another piece of music when compared to Chaliapin's--no sobbing, no yelping, just impeccable diction, fine tone and inflection. His rendition of King Philip's great scene is equally non-profundo but quite moving for its lack of melodrama.
"Madamina" is feather-light and witty, with fine dynamics and no slumming-humming near the end; Louise's father's lullaby is exquisite. Perhaps Marcoux is an acquired taste; if so, it's a fine acquisition. These 19 selections were recorded in the '20s and '30s; the transfers are impeccably clear. Highly recommended.
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
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